Cats are known for chewing and licking on random household items, especially items made of plastic. I bet you are wondering if it’s bad for cats to lick plastic bags? While plastic seems like a very odd choice as a chew toy, from your cat’s point of view, it is very attractive. The answer to this questions is yes. Anything your cat chews on or licks, including plastic, can be potentially fatal if not monitored. He can choke or suffocate to death since plastic can easily be lodged into his throat. It’s important to take precaution when leaving things around the house that your cat can use as a chew toy.
Why Do Cats Eat Plastic/Chew on Plastic Bags?
Believe it or not, a cats sense of smell is very strong. Most of the time your plastic bag comes from a grocery store which can leave a lingering scent of whatever food was in the bag. This will interest your cat enough for him to go and see what the smell is all about. Not only do your plastic bags reek of food, but they are also coated in certain substances like cornstarch, animal by-products, and stearates, which will attract your cat. Your cat is also attractd to the loud crinkly noises that the bags make when they attack and play with them.
Cats also chew on items like plastic because of their teeth. If you find that your cat is chewing and gnawing on more substances than normal, it would be a good idea to set up a trip to the vet to make sure his teeth are in good health. While at the vet, it is also a good time to bring up all your cat’s chewing habits. Dietary deficiencies also lead up to cats adopting these strange habits of chewing household items.
Cats That Chew Plastic Can Be a Sign of Pica
What is pica you ask? Pica is the medical term used to describe a cat that chews or eats non-food items. There are many factors involved on why cats may suffer from pica. Ill provide a small list of the most common contributors to pica.
- Medical Conditions – There are certain medical problems your cat may be suffering from. Tooth disease, diabetes, brain tumors, stomach issues, and anemia can all be causes for your cat to experience pica. All these medical conditions alter your cats senses which can cause him to start chewing and eating non food items.
- Nutritional Problems – Vitamin deficiencies from food can cause pica in your cat. This isn’t typically common, but it does happen nonetheless. If your cat is showing signs and symptoms of pica, it would be a smart idea to get him checked out at the vet.
- Stress – Stress is another big factor in pica for cats. There are lots of things that can cause stress for your cat. Not enough play time, separation anxiety, traveling, health problems, and may other factors contribute to your cat’s stress levels.
- Cat’s Personality – Your cat may chew on plastic just because he is a cat. Cats generally have a curious personality that will often help them find their way into odd situations such as eating plastic, knocking over jars or containers, and simply just getting into trouble.
Quick Tips to Stop Your Cat from Chewing Plastic
Provide your cat with safe alternatives that he can use instead of plastic or other inappropriate items. This means addressing your cats need in a way that helps promote safe activities that won’t harm your cat. Depending on your cat’s needs, will dictate what items you will replace for your cat. If your cat likes to chew on plastic bags look for something at your local pet store that can mimic the sounds and textures of a plastic bag.
It would be a good idea to purchase a wide variety of cat toys that mimic all the sensations that he gets from the household items. Textures, smells, and sounds should be the main focus when looking for different cat toys.
Since plastic can potentially be fatal for your cat, you will want to make sure that he can no longer access these dangerous types of items. Make sure to either dispose of bags quickly, or put them in a drawer that your cat cannot reach. It would be wise to lock the cabinet since cats are known for being mischievous. Your cat may also suffer from pica because he is lonely or bored. Try getting another cat around the house so they can keep each other company while you are out or away from home.
Try to play with your cat everyday. Playing with your cat is not only fun, but it is a good way to tire him out mentally as well as physically. Look for toys that will help you in engaging activities with your cat. A good example is a wand type of toy like this one from amazon. This type of toy allows you to easily play and tire your cat with minimal effort on your part. Also, clicker training your cat is another good way to help promote physical activity. You can make him do tricks, sit, and other forms of movement to help tire him out. Try purchasing a cat tree like this one from amazon to help keep your cat entertained.
Many cats suffer from pica. It is easiest to deal with in the early stages. Make the required changes in your house to help stop it before it gets out of hand.